How to open an unsupported file

Check the file extension

Your PC uses predefined programs to open files and therefore tends to associate file formats with software to "read" the latter. Some formats, however, may not fit into the variety of those compatible with the programs installed on your computer, and so you may need to install other programs to read files that you cannot open normally.

Here, then, is that the first step to understanding how to open an unsupported file is to check her extension (the latter indicates the type of file and, consequently, the programs with which it can be opened).

To check the extension of a file, click on Windows, just click on his icon with the right mouse button and then click on the item Property in the context menu. In the window that opens, the extension will be shown (with three characters preceded by the point inside brackets) next to the item File type. For example, plain text files, those that can be created with Notepad, have the extension . Txt.

If you use a Mac, instead, you can achieve the same result this way: do click destroy on 'icon of the file whose extension you want to view and select the item Get information from the context menu. In the window that opens, click on arrow placed next to the item Name and extension and you will get the data of your interest. Make sure the box Hide extension is unchecked.

Alternatively, you can see file extensions directly after their names in the Windows File Explorer or macOS Finder; you find explained how to do it in the tutorial that I just linked to you.

Now that you know what the identity of the file you want to open is, proceed with the next chapters, in which I will illustrate the operation of some websites that, based on the extension, are able to show you, in immediately, the programs needed to open files belonging to that particular category.

In any case, before proceeding further, I inform you that the problems related to opening a file could occur even if this is corrupt o damaged.

Often, this unfortunate eventuality is due to the sharing method used to send a file from one computer to another, for example, some sites used to share files, at the time of downloading these, could cause corruption of the content of the same.

In this case, therefore, give it a try trying to get the file from a different source than the one used previously and also check the programs that I have recommended in this guide.


The first site I want parts of is It is a convenient online tool (usable with any browser) that provides you with a sort of "identikit" of a specific extension of files: its details and the programs with which to open, create, extract, modify and convert files of the searched extension. The only flaw - if we want to define it that way - is that the site is only available in English. I assure you, however, that with my suggestions you will undoubtedly be able to understand how it works.

To use File-Extensions, linked to the home page of the site and, in the search bar at the top left (the one with the icon of magnifying glass) type the name of theextension of the file you want to open (without the dot), then press the button Search. Then click on the first result on the list. On the page that opens, you can see a complete overview of the type of file associated with the extension you are looking for.

Scroll down the page and once you get to the item List of software applications associated to the file extensionclick on your button Open (the first from the left in the list of the various cards). The site will then provide you with a list of programs (divided by platform) suitable for opening the file you would like to view. By clicking on the name of each program, a page will open which (by pressing the button [program name] website, in the box at the top right) will automatically redirect you to its official website from which you can possibly download it.

I recommend: before downloading any type of program, do a Google search and find out about its degree of reliability.


Don't you like the site I just recommended? No problem - just try to see how you get on with Its operation is also very simple: it is, in fact, a website (in English) from which it is possible to find information on a specific file extension. Its interface is very essential and intuitive.

To use FiloInfo, open its web page and type the name of theextension of the file you want to open in the search bar, up. On the page that opens, you will be shown a description of the type of file associated with the typed extension. Simply scroll down the screen to see a list of programs compatible with the file extension you are looking for.

To be redirected to the official website of each program, all you have to do is click on the name software itself in the list and then click the button More info, top right, in the new page that opens.

Again, I recommend that you do a Google search and check the reputation of any program you intend to download before even starting the download and possibly installing it on your PC.

How to open an unsupported PDF file

You are trying to open a file PDF but your computer keeps showing you an error message when opening, or a window telling you that the PDF file in question is not supported? Don't despair - there are some simple ways that can allow you to resolve this issue.

The solution to the problem, in fact, could be much simpler than you think. You must know, in fact, that in the vast majority of cases, messages of this kind tend to be shown when Acrobat Reader DC e Acrobat DC (two of the most used programs for viewing PDFs) detect that the content of the file is missing, damaged or incorrectly decoded.

Problems related to decryption often occur when PDF files are downloaded from email services or other content sharing services. Having said that, therefore, my advice is to try to download the file again from another source or, simply, from the same source a second time. You may also want to advise the person who sent you the file to try resending it using a different method.

Alternatively, you might as well take a few tries trying to restore the contents of the damaged file. It may sound like a tricky and cumbersome operation but I guarantee you that, in reality, all you have to do is rely on one of the very simple programs that I have recommended telling you how to recover corrupt files. If even doing so you still can't open the file in question, proceed with what is indicated in the following chapters of the tutorial.

Update Acrobat Reader DC

Acrobat Reader DC, as you may know, it is one of the most popular tools for reading, editing and compiling PDF file. If you use it on your computer and notice problems opening files, a program update it could definitely help you. How to do this? I'll explain it to you immediately, it's child's play.

To get started, open any PDF file, or start directly Acrobat Reader DCclicca sull'icona ? collocata in alto a destra e seleciona la voce Check for updates from the menu that opens. That's all: if the program finds an update, it will notify you and you can decide to install it with one click.

Purposes Acrobat DC (the paid version of Acrobat Reader with lots of additional editing features) to open PDF files? The steps for updating the latter are exactly the same.

If you notice that the problem with opening files tends to occur with some regularity, you might as well consider the hypothesis of repair the installation of the programs I mentioned. To do this, just go back to the Acrobat Reader DC or Acrobat DC window and press the icon again ?, top left.

After that, click on the item Repair installation in the menu that is proposed to you and, from here, click on the button Yes to confirm. Easier than that ?!

Use Adobe Digital Editions

The PDF file you are trying to open is a eBook or a digital magazine? In this case, then, the most suitable solution, and which could allow you to view the file in question without problems, is to use Adobe Digital Editions. It is a very simple program compatible with the formats PDF e XHTML (via ePub format) available free for Windows and macOS.

To download it, open the Adobe website page for the program and click on voices in blue with the name of your operating system. If you use Windows, to start the installation, open the .exe file got and answer Yes at the User Account Control request. Then put the check mark on the item I accept the license conditions I awarded her NEXT, Install e end, but will conclude the setup.

If, on the other hand, you want to install the program on a Mac, double-click the .dmg file you just downloaded, start theexecutable contained within it and follow the instructions on the screen (usually just press on Continue and, when prompted, you must type the administration password macOS).

Done! now you can start using the program right away. To open the PDF file you are having trouble with, click on the item Fillet, top left, in the Adobe Digital Editions window. After that, click on the item Add to library and select the file.

At this point, the latter will be immediately displayed in the right pane: open it, then, with a double click. Then? Were you finally able to view the file you didn't want to open? No? If so, then try using one of several alternative PDF readers I talked about in this guide.

How to open an unsupported file on a smartphone or tablet

Is the file you are trying to open on a mobile device and the file manager you use on the mobile device tells you that the item is not supported? Several factors could be behind this problem. First, the file in question could be incompatible with your device's operating systemfor example, an APK file of Android (i.e. the executable file of an application) cannot be opened on a iPhone or iPad (the latter are only compatible with files in IPA, nor do they allow you to open them directly; apps can only be officially downloaded from the App Store).

Then check the file extension with File-Extensions or FileInfo (the problem tends to occur, often, when trying to open a file with an app that is incompatible with a specific extension). By now almost all mobile devices, using the right apps, are able to read the formats of graphic files (JPG, PNG, GIF, BMP) and those audio (MP3, WAV, WMA).

Rather, most of the misunderstandings occur with formats video. The extension MP4 it is compatible with all or almost all devices but the other formats (AVI, FLV, MKV and so on) are often not read "natively" or, in some cases, lack compatibility with AC3 audio tracks. Therefore, my advice, in this case, is to try to use various apps by reading their descriptions and compatible formats well.

For example, in this guide I have shown you some of the best video players in circulation in the mobile world. I must also inform you that the technical of your device may be a determining factor in reading a file. For example, if you are trying to view a video recorded at a particularly high resolution on an inexpensive and very dated phone (with a low resolution display), you will most likely get the message that the file format is not supported.

However, I also suggest that you try to transfer the file that you cannot open on a computer and try to view it on the latter, in this way you can rule out the hypothesis that the file is corrupt or damaged. In the next chapter I'm going to show you how to use a file manager (app created specifically to browse the memory of a mobile device and open, copy, extract and delete files) particularly valid and compatible "natively" with a large variety of formats, which could help you solve your problem.

FE File Explorer (Android/iOS)

The (completely free) app that I want to recommend is, as I mentioned before, a file manager compatible with a large variety of image formats, audio and video: FE File Explorer. Basically, thanks to FE File Explorer, you can open images, listen to music and see videos and documents directly from the app itself. In addition, you will have the possibility to access the files contained in archive compressi (ZIP, RAR e 7z).

To download FE File Explorer to a device Android open the official page of the app on the Play Store (if your smartphone or tablet does not have Google services, look for the app on the alternative stores) and press the button Install. If, on the other hand, you intend to install FE File Explorer on a device iOS / iPadOS, open this page on App Store, award-winning Ottieni / Installa and verify your identity with Face ID, touch ID o password dell'ID Apple (if necessary).

At this point, proceed by opening the app by pressing on its icon (the letters "FE" on an orange background) that you find on the home screen, in the app menu or in the app library. From the main page of the app you can directly access the files on your device by pressing on items relating to the various categories (Pictures, Videos, Audios, Documents and so on). When prompted, grant the application the necessary permissions to access the memory of your device.

If you don't know the type to which the file you want to open belongs, tap on the icon placed at the top left, then press on the item Main storage and browse the various folders to find the file you want to open. Once you have found it, you just have to tap on his preview to view it. Simple, right? How do you say? Even in this way you were unable to access the file that is indicated as "unsupported"? In this case, then, you can give it a try with the other file managers that I proposed to you some time ago.

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